Why Are Gin Sales Outstripping Beer Across The UK?

The government is now making more money from spirit sales – so what gives?

A glass of gin and tonic.

The UK is fast becoming a nation of spirit drinkers, with a growing number of boozehounds waving bye-bye to beer in favour of more alluring alternatives like the humble gin and tonic.

Figures produced by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association revealed an incredible 12 per cent increase in gins sales over the past 12 months, with a whopping 43 million bottles reportedly sold across the UK over the last year.

Beer sales, by contrast, have climbed just over one per cent in the past 12 months though the industry rakes in around £3.3 billion in sales compared with £3.1 billion for the entire spirits market.

So what has prompted the sudden shift away from the humble pint to something a little more… exotic?

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has a couple of explanations that could hold water.

“We’ve seen a huge boom in gin over the past year, possibly because people have been inspired by the style of early 20th century shows like Downton Abbey and James Bond,” they said

“Gin themed hotels and bars are popping up everywhere and even Mary Berry enjoyed a gin & tonic drizzle cake on Great British Bake Off.”

The answer may be a little simpler though with a standard gin and tonic containing around half the calories (110) of a standard pint of five per cent lager (215) with some stouts and ales proving to be even more punishing on our waistlines.

In drinking spirits, people are also reducing the sheer amount of liquid consumed – something that can often leave drinkers feeling a little, well, bloated.

pints of beer
Pints A few beers Image Wikimedia

Another explanation could be that there are simply a more diverse range of options for the discerning gin drinker with tonic brands like Fentimans and Fever-Tree offering new and refreshing flavour combinations.

In any case, the impending doom of Brexit could spell more good news for the gin industry.

While EU tariffs are likely to hit much of the alcohol industry hard, a recent boom in the number of Gin distilleries in the UK means the country is far better equipped to source the spirit from within its borders.

This may only be the start of great gins to come for UK drinkers far and wide.

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